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TheActiveLife || HEALTH & WELLNESS

[ research shows ]

Hip-Waist Ratio Key to


While body mass index (BMI) remains the key measure physi- cians and health-care experts use to determine mortality, a study from the journal Annals of Epidemiology notes that waist-hip ratio may actually be a better indicator of longevity. Specifically, risk of early death was 75% higher for individuals whose waist was larger than their hips. This is underscored in a recent study presented at the American Stroke Association’s Stroke Conference asserting that abdominal obesity increases risk of diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol, all of which increase the likeli- hood of stroke. THE TAKEAWAY Keep an eye on your belly blubber. This is where the metabolically dangerous body fat lurks.

Fat City:


While urban areas tend to be healthier than rural counties, there are still plenty of cities out there that exceed the national average obesity rate of 26.5%. The latest Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index revealed the most obese metropolitan areas in the United States, and you’ll find the top 10 overfed and under-exercised areas below, followed by the obesity rate.

n (tie) Montgomery, Ala., and Stockton, Calif.: 34.6% n Visalia/Porterville, Calif.: 34.1% n York/Hanover, Pa.:34% n Flint, Mich.: 33.9% n McAllen/Edinburg/Mission, Texas: 33.7% n Bakersfield, Calif.: 33.6% n (tie) Lynchburg, Va., and Huntington/Ashland, West Va., Ky., Ohio: 33% n Kingsport/Bristol, Tenn., Va.: 32.9%

OmmmMG! Zen May Give You a Bigger Brain



ractitioners of Zen meditation not only have thicker brains, they may also have less sensitivity to pain, according to

a study published in the journal Emotion. Scientists from the University of Montreal used MRI scans and found that the brains of Zen meditators had enhanced corticol thick- ness and greater resistance to pain when heat was applied to their calves. A separate study in the

Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease

Quick Tip

showed that after eight weeks of meditation in the Kundalini yoga tradition, subjects had increased blood flow in the brain and scored higher on memory tests. THE TAKEAWAY There are many great resources available for a variety of medita- tion techniques. At the very least, finding quiet time and developing stress manage- ment can help your overall health, since stress can lead to brain atrophy and weight gain.

FOR WRINKLES, TRY TURMERIC Having trouble smoothing wrinkles? New creams featuring the curry spice turmeric have shown promise in recent studies. Some use it in home remedies, making a paste by combining it with milk cream.

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